Urban Wayfinding or Cityscape Signage and Wayfinding in Major Cities

Emily Badger wrote a wonderful piece in the Atlantic Cities Journal about urban wayfinding or cityscpae signage and wayfinding titled “The Suprising Complex Art of Urban Wayfinding.” We wish we could have written an opening statement that is as humorous and observant as what she wrote. If you are involved with architectural design or wayfinding, you should take a few minutes to read Ms. Badger’s column. Click here to read more. For your convienience, we’ve pasted a few key excerpts below.

“Atlanta is no easy city for outsiders to navigate. It has seemingly three downtowns, plus three major interstates slicing through the core of the place, plus infinite maddeningly intertwined Peachtree streets. Los Angeles has neither an obvious street grid nor a comprehensive transit system that spans the entire city. Downtown Seattle actually has something like five street grids, all tilting on a slightly different axis. Washington, D.C., has those diagonal boulevards that befuddle tourists. And then there’s Venice – don’t even get visitors started on Venice.

In a word, these are all cities that could use some wayfinding.

Enter the urban wayfinding expert. This field – also known as environmental graphic design – fits a unique niche somewhere in between two- and three-dimensional design, between building and landscape architecture, between the small scale (street signs) and really large systems (whole cities).

“Architectural signage and wayfinding isn’t about building a nicely designed sign,” says Sue Labouvie, one such expert whom we tapped to explain the science of helping us find our way in the city. “It’s about the information content and the analysis of the space or place that you’re trying to move people through, and coming up with a strategy of how you make this big complex thing simple and understandable to the user.”

Bravo, Ms. Badger and Ms. Labouvie.

While we’re sharing information about wayfinding from other resources, we’d like to shine some light on a blog post authored by Sun Joo Kim on smartplanet.com titled, “How to Design Better City Streets for the Blind.”

In addition, we’d like to share a few other sources of information for wayfinding — both for urban wayfinding, cityscape signage, and architectural wayfinding solutions.

Click here to download the whitepaper “Pathways to Success: The Benefits of Wayfinding Signage

Check out these other urban wayfinding or cityscape signage blog posts:

Cityscape and Wayfinding Signage is Making News Again

Signage Quick Hits: Wayfinding and Architectural Signage for Public Spaces

City Wayfinding Signage: Why Making the Investment in Exterior Directional Signage is a Good Idea

Get Adobe Flash player